terminal nerds

i chose trash, because this entry is mostly garbage collection to close the week
Well, I got a couple projects that are coming to a close. The Cast of Characters page is nearly done, with some rearranging, some new pictures, and more text, it’s right about ready to be published. I’m holding out for a couple more pictures and then I’ll pull the trigger and upload it. Also, Anthony and I nearly finished the FCG last night (with some help from Ben). While at Ant’s working on the ghost, I somehow (in the course of one weeknight, mind you) managed to: douse my cellphone in beer (I pulled the tap myself while holding the phone underneath… what?), pop myself in the stomach with a wire coathanger (I checked, it left a mark), and have so little fuel in my truck that I wasn’t able to start it until I coasted off Anthony’s sloped driveway and into the flat street. Anyway, we got the entire motor-assembly done (the marionette part), and I built the armature for the ghost itself. Now it’s up to my artistic side to craft up a nice apparition to fill out the armature. I say the project will be completed over the weekend.

Melissa didn’t get home until like midnight last night, and then went back in this morning at like 5:30am. Oh, for those who don’t know, Melissa is living with us while she awaits the availability of her new apartment here in California. Actually, I guess today is her last day, which means I no longer live with two women.. which is so awesome… I think I am crying a little bit right now. Either way, I’m glad my job doesn’t require that much from me. I’m all for working, but only as a means to an end. When I win the lottery, I’m done with the 9-5 scene.

In other news, I modified the ASP script for the comments page, so that the comments are now sorted from the top down (new comments added under the last ones). It now has the more familiar comment look of sites like Slashdot and Fark, since the whole “first comment at the bottom” thing was irking me. I know you probably don’t care, but I love projects… remember?! Speaking of Fark, I lifted this link from them for the blog, because I got such a kick out of it. I never even knew there was such a thing as “LARPing,” but let me be the first to say… “that looks kinda cool.” Oh no, I mean… what terminal nerds… yeah… yup.

OK, time to get ready for the weekend. I got a nice one planned. Some possible 4x4ing again, helping Steve and Ragan erect a sweet gazebo over their new spa, and fashioning some tombstones out of foam insulation sheeting. See ya on Monday.

horde

well... some people collect 'em...
I think I’m an obsessive collector. I tend to latch onto something, and try to collect the hell out of it. Sitting back and taking a real look at it, I can remember it starting way back in gradeschool. When Garbage Pail Kids initially came out, I collected them in earnest. Before that it was Star Wars or He Man figures. In 4th and 5th grade the musical monster within me had been awoken, and I would hunt through record stores to find any Depeche Mode cassettes I could get my hands on. Progressing on to middle school, I met Kyle, and my eyes were opened to real music. I dove headlong into the Beatles (and classic rock in general). It wasn’t long before I had several hundred cassette tapes. The “rarer” and more obscure the band or recorded material, the more I wanted to own it. The obsession only increased in high school when I found out there were such a thing as Beatles “bootlegs.” The idea of owning unreleased recordings, of being among that elite few that have 40 minutes of Paul rehearsing Blackbird, had incredible appeal to me. So, throughout high school I dropped gobs of cash on illicit Beatles recordings, Radiohead “imports,” scarce Prodigy cd-5’s released only in Luxembourg, etc. The music phase of my collectaholism lasted all the way into college, and even trailed me out to California. I continued to trade cd’s online and amass an impressive (and quite relevant, IMO) collection.

The only problem with collecting music is that it was taking massive amounts of my time. I had to burn cd’s, go to the post office all the time, organize the new stuff I was getting, scan artwork, print artwork, not to mention actually find time to listen to the new junk I was getting. Eventually, the time it took to orchestrate trades just got to be too much for me, and I slowly let the habit taper. I crafted a “stock” e-mail which politely declined any new trades, and I pretty much pulled out of the Beatles bootleg “scene” altogether. I still have several unopened mailers full of cd’s sitting on my desk from the last few trades I did do, and several stacks of jewel-case-housed cd’s that are begging to have their artwork printed and be filed. I just lost the drive somewhere along the way. I mean, if a spectacular trade comes along – I might still jump at it (the last one I did was for nearly the entire Woodstock festival on something like 20 cd’s – the real Woodstock, 1969), but for the most part I’m done with trading in bulk.

As the music trading ebbed, I subconsciously moved onto obsessing over other things I could collect. Most of the time, I don’t even realize I’m “collecting” things, I just start amassing things – and for some reason get interested in all these variations, which inevitably leads to me wanting all kinds of something. After music/Beatles it was pipes, I scoured Ebay for estate pipes, buying them, cleaning and restoring them, and then smoking them. I even started collecting different types of pipe tobacco to smoke in the pipes I was collecting.

The phases come and go. He Man, M.U.S.C.L.E., cassettes, cd’s, pipes, etc. Now I’m back around to Garbage Pail Kids again, which is a collision of my collecting fetish and my get-back-my-childhood fetish (the latter of those two being a blog topic all of it’s own). Even the Pac Man project was tainted with my collect-’em-all mentality. I had to have every original game, which meant thousands. My Halloween thing? Just another way to collect and horde cool stuff. I dream of the day I can own every episode of the Andy Griffith Show on DVD. I started collecting the “History of Middle Earth” books that Tolkien Jr. published posthumously for his dad, just to gather very scrap of his writing. My PC at home contains every original NES, Genesis, SNES, and N64 ROM, and the emulators to play ’em. (Yeah, the video game industry outpaced my “gaming” skillz right around N64 and the intro of fighting/1st person shooters. If you have to use more than about 3 buttons and a D-pad, I’m out. Don’t ever ask me to “strafe.”)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand… I suppose the whole collecting thing goes deeper than just straight-up collecting. My theory is that it fulfills a two-pronged need. Prong one being more about elitism, notoriety, renown, etc. “Dave has the coolest music collection!” “Have you seen it, it’s insane!” “Tell us about your Garbage Pail Kid collection Dave!” “Where did you ever get so many pipes?” “This Pac Man machine is so awesome, does it have Galaxian?! It does?! Oh man, this is so rad.” Prong two being about my need to always have a “project.” Hence the Pac Man machine, the Halloween setup, the blog… Something I can work on, perpetually if I’m lucky.

Lately I’ve noticed my collecting has kind of changed shades. I get the feeling that it’s becoming less about concrete objects and more about “remembering” stuff. Probably because, for some unknown reason, my memory is crap most of the time. So I write stuff down, I take pictures, I make webpages, I keep journals. I collect stuff that’s in my head; collect it into words and pictures and stories, and document it all so I don’t forget it one day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be good for a laugh because you heard I’m driving to some gas station 30mi away to get the last new Garbage Pail Kid I need to complete series 18b… but I’m just saying…

Dave out.

binary log

every two weeks?!
Arnold freakin’ won. OK, that’s all I’m gonna talk about politics, I swear. Last night, Anthony and I started working on the flying crank ghost for my Halloween display. We got stuck when I didn’t have a large enough drill bit to make a hole for the motor shaft. We figured we can work on it tonight and get it close to done. Then I have some tombstones and a graveyard fence to make, and I am well on the way. I have the fog machine and black light, and would also like to get a strobe light and possibly another black light as well. So, the plan is coming together. I was getting worried, as Halloween is fast approaching and I’ve been concentrating on the backyard lately. I think the haunt will still go down without a hitch.

When I first started keeping this blog, I was not really sure what “blog” even meant. I mean, I knew that what I was doing – keeping an online “journal” – was called a “blog.” My guess was that it was short for “binary log.” Only a few days later did I realize how stupid that was, when it hit me that it must obviously be a shortened form of “weblog.” So anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is to kinda setup a joke.

The other night we were over at Anthony’s house, the same night I got hit by the Barleywine truck actually, and Ben, Ant, and I were huddled around his granite-topped bar. I brought up the fact that I had mistakenly thought that “blog” was short for “binary log,” and got a good laugh. “I mean, why would I think it was ‘binary log,'” I said, “There’s nothing ‘binary’ about it, it’s not even in binary.” (Get ready, here’s the joke). To which Ben replied, “Maybe in the physical layer, maybe that’s what you were thinking.” Oh man, let me tell you, TCP/IP protocol jokes go over well with a group of buzzin’ nerds.

I don’t expect the non-engineers to get the joke, I just thought I’d demonstrate to the general public how foreign computer-humor is. Speaking of blogs: they are super popular lately, with people using them to do basically what I do (i.e. nothing), and respectable news and sports sites adding daily blog features to enhance content. Even Google plans to start keeping a seperate search index for blogs, kinda like they do now for “news.”

The “cast of characters” page is a stone’s throw away from completion. I need to add a few more bios, and I’m done. I took the approach that I’m not going to have an entry for every single person, only the ones that get mentioned a lot. It was easier for me. Basically, if I couldn’t think of a paragraph or two to write about you… ya didn’t make it.

Wanna read a super-long, but also super-interesting, article? Check this one out, I really enjoyed it. Note: Don’t be fooled by the seemingly political-agenda tinged intro, it only serves as exposition – the article isn’t about that at all.

how’s shit?

step away from the Duplos Lex
Back at ya with another blog. How’s shit? Good? Nice to hear, me too. I started keeping a text file on my desktop, called “blog_ideas.txt,” where I can scribble down things that I think might be interesting or funny to put on the blog.

Somehow, I got to thinking about Legos the other day. Legos were the ubiquitous toy when I was a kid, my brother and I had piles of ’em. We had the normal primary-color ones, mixed with the Lunar Moonbase grey and black ones, mixed with the brown Pirate Ship ones. All kids had Legos, kids whom God had forsaken had Duplos, and some who had been double cursed had those damn generic ones that didn’t fit Legos or Duplos. These kids had to play with their generic “interconnecting block toys” all alone in the corner, building things like “walls” and “floors” with their flea-market-grade junk. Duplos were to Legos as Go Bots were to Transformers. Funnily enough, in doing a search for Duplos – I found out that Lego actually makes them. I wonder if it’s always been that way?

Anyway, my brother and I used to have these competitions where the idea was to build the ultimate indestructible Lego vehicle. In the beginning, the designs were simple car-like vehicles. As the contest progressed, our vehicle engineering processes changed – and the designs slowly evolved into something like Lego-bricks with wheels. As a rule, you had to leave a hollow spot in the center for a driver. Other than that, we’d build these three-deep Lego squares, making sure to never align the block seams. We’d stand on the dang things to make sure the blocks were ready to withstand their impending beating. Once our cubes-on-wheels were finished, we’d roll them at each other across the kitchen floor, where they would collide head-on somewhere in the middle. Whoever’s vehicle could withstand the most beatings won. If it got boring, we’d simply drop them directly on the ground from increasing heights until they gave way, or maybe throw them into a wall. Man, Legos were awesome.

I’ve really been into the Shins latest album lately. It’s got such a 60’s feel to it, with some tracks sounding almost like some crazy Forever Changes era Love and Odessey & Oracle era Zombies mix. Basically, it’s a really great album. Winamp at work has been stuck on repeat with a tracklist consisting of that Shins album, and the new Snow Patrol. Both albums have really grown on me of late. If you get the chance, check ’em both out.

Here’s a list of all the “last meals” Texas’ death row inmates have requested before their executions. Fried Chicken seems to be extremely popular, and there are some surprises in there too – like the guy who wanted “1 bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers.” What a strange thing to keep a running record of on the internet.

OK, I can delete “indestructible Lego cars” and “death row meals” from the “blog_ideas.txt” file. That leaves “binary log, physical layer” and “movie computers.” Yeah, you’ll just have to wait and see…

Oh yeah, and check it out (two in one day):

Justice Department files notice it will appeal judge's ruling that set back its case against alleged 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Details soon.Appeals court rules national "do-not-call" registry can be implemented while court considers whether it violates telemarketers' free speech. Details soon.

no vehicle access

tippecanoe and tyler too, we like ike, and all that jazz
Tomorrow’s the big election. And since it’s my civic duty to vote, I am scrambling to read as much about the major players as I can before the I head to the polls. It’s pathetic that I don’t know who I’m gonna vote for, but I’ll do my best. I’ve been visiting the candidates’ websites, which (in my mind) does no good – they’re gonna make themselves sound rosy. So I’ve been reading debate transcripts and whatnot. Basically, it’s down to three choices: no recall, Bustamante, or Arnold. Any other vote would just be a throwaway. Kristi (a federal lobbyist, and by far my most political-minded friend) was kind enough to put together an e-mail for me, collecting some of the better links re: the recall. Hopefully, I can get this all sorted. Argh.

Yesterday, Anthony, Ben, Brontë… and I took the Discovery out for another intended 4×4 romp. The plan was to head to this 4×4 park that’s near my house. When we got there, however, it was closed down due to some special race they were having. We were pretty bummed about that. So we drove around, trying to rack our brains and think of some exciting places we could take the truck. The idea of the Auburn State Recreational Area came up again, as did Ruck-A-Chucky. Ben said he knew of some dirt roads up that way, near the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge and Mosquito Ridge Road. So we settled in for a drive towards the Auburn SRA.

Eventually, we ended up just deciding to try out Ruck-A-Chucky. Ruck-A-Chucky is a famous rapids/waterfall section on the middle fork of the American River. It’s where most of the middle-fork whitewater trips end, and it’s also where Sharaun and I love to go camping. The middle-fork is set in this huge canyon, and it’s really quiet and awesome being down by the river. To get down into the canyon to the river, you take this washed out dirt road that winds down one canyon wall to the river. The road is pretty rough, so we thought it might be fun to test the Rover on it.

We crossed the Foresthill Bridge and continued on towards Driver’s Flat Road, which is were you turn to get down into the gorge where Ruck-A-Chucky is.

<begin tangent>
On the way, we saw some dude in a minivan towing a couple dirtbikes (there are several OHV trails for dirtbikes and ATV’s in the Auburn SRA, so you see bikes being towed all over place). The guy’s tying-down job on one of his bikes wasn’t perfect, and he lost the left one right in front of us. It smashed onto the highway and was dragged for about 30ft before he noticed it had fallen. Sucks for him.
</end tangent>

Anyway, we started down the dirt road at a reasonable clip. The truck effortlessly tackled some washboard bumpiness that would have left lesser cars (lowered Civics) stranded. We drove down to the river and went as far upriver as we could. Eventually we turned right at a sign marked “no vehicle access,” and did some decent offroadin’. The day was pretty fun, and Ben captured it on his new camera. Being the second-best web dev he is, he’s already got the pix up in his gallery section. You can view the day’s events in living color and moving pictures over at this link. (Note: as of Monday morning, Ben’s site was experiencing some technical difficulties – so these links may or may not work when you click ’em).

In other news, the retaining wall is done! Well, let me qualify that. The retaining wall is stacked. It still needs to be backfilled, but other than that it is complete. I will add some pix to the backyard site as soon as possible (it’s on my long list of junk to do).

I’m out.

thanks for the confidence

ahhh... young love
I was busy today scouring my folders for photos for the soon-to-be-launched “cast of characters” page, picking out good ones, cropping them, resizing them, and working them into the flow of the page. When I decided I wanted to include some older pictures (pre-digital camera era by a long shot), I busted out some old boxes from the garage and fired up the scanner. It was during my picking-through of some old school pictures that I found something that made me wanna do this late-night Sunday blog.

I have this box of old stuff from my gradeschool years. It used to reside in our extra room when we lived in Florida. We had a house where the previous owner had converted the garage into a den and spare/junk room. We piled boxes and crap in that back room, and for years that’s where this box sat. Unfortunately, the drainage or sealing of that room was not done properly, and during a particularly floody day one year, that room took on a lot of water. A lot of the stuff in the box got ruined, mildewed, and just nasty. But before I moved to California, I cleaned up as much as I could and brought it with me. I was sorting through that box today, looking for some old school pictures of myself to add to the “cast” page.

Wedged between my Bausch and Lomb Science award and a crispy/moldy 5th grade project on birds, I found one of the coolest things in the world:

This is the first “love letter” I ever got. I was in kindergarten. Man, just seeing those hearts catapults me back to when I got this thing. The scan above is the front of the envelope (you can click all the images for larger versions). As you can see, my name is not spelled right.

Here’s the back of the envelope, they spent some time on this part – color and all. I swear, I was the happiest kid on earth when I got this thing. Thank God my folks had the presence of mind to save this. I can almost feel how good I felt when I got it. Oh yeah, did I mention it was a love letter from two girls? Apparently their names were “Christy and Shelly.” Now, I looked hard for my kindergarten class photo, but couldn’t find it. If my memory serves me correctly though, these two foxes looked they were in at least the 3rd grade. Once a pimp, always a pimp… (they still got the name wrong though)

Inside the letter was another “handmade” envelope. Again, some time was taken on this one. Looks like this might be from Christi alone, and it also looks like Christi was kinda dumb / kinda smart. Why do I say this? Well, she’s now taken to spelling my name correctly, but she’s forgotten if her own name ends with a ‘Y’ or an ‘I.’ Seems she has been completely mentally obliterated by her love for me, and is clearly losing her mind with lust.

Inside the inner-envelope, was this piece of notebook paper. Now Christy has gone back to the ‘Y’ spelling, and my name has once again reverted to “Daivd D.” That’s OK, because there are like four-thousand hearts on this page. There are even hearts that have hearts inside of them. Some of the hearts have been cleverly turned into balloons, and either Christy or Shelly had the shakes, or there’s confetti flying around. Also, there are what appear to be water spots on the note – which leads me to believe that their emotions were so strong, these poor girls were actually sobbing while they wrote this letter. This is for real love, y’all.

Also inside the inner-envelope, a very small scrap of paper with yet more admonishments of undying love. I don’t know if it matters which side is “side one” here, so I’ve shown both of them. The left one seems to have some intense imagery, including what I make out as a sand-dollar, a ninja star, and a flower. In reality, these are all supposed to be flowers – but hey, we were in kindergarten, and these girls were most likely super hot for five-year-olds (we all know brains don’t get handed out on the same day as looks). On the flipside, we have a simple message: : “Lovig David,” there’s a nice blue stamp there too. Ahh… this was the best day of my young life thus far.

Well, there ya have it. My very first love letter. Reproduced here in all it’s awesomeness. I’m really glad I could share it with you. I honestly can almost remember how good it felt when Christy, or Shelly, or Christi, or both of ’em, came up and gave this to me. I was ecstatic.

Christy and Shelly – thanks for the confidence.